17 Women On The “Uniform” That Keeps Getting Dressed Cheap & Easy


My life consists almost entirely of talking about how much I love fashion, carefully collecting and curating a closet full of clothes I absolutely love, then somehow standing half-naked in front of my mirror every morning wondering what the hell to actually wear.

The truth is, no matter how much I will myself to toss on one of my ~super cute~ outfits at 5am when I’m freezing and generally miserable about the day ahead of me, no article of clothing gets me truly excited to get dressed and out the door.

But from what I’ve heard, the concept of having a uniform — a particular style of outfit that you base your entire wardrobe around, and default to wearing every day — can make getting dressed quicker, easier, and even cheaper. Think about it — buying only the tried-and-true staples of outfits you know you’ll look and feel good in is a good way to cut down on your experimental impulse shopping, and cut all of the “I’ve never worn that once” items from your closet (and your budget).

As someone who is, in general, a huge fan of fashion and personal style, I’m not sure if I’m ever going to be a “uniform” person — but I do see the value it has in making your getting-ready routine much quicker and simpler. I get hella experimental with my clothing, and that is something that is really fun for me – but at this point in my life, I’m starting to wonder if I need to take a hiatus from creating wacky outfits, and focus more on doing anything possible to help me pinch pennies and shave minutes off of my busy routine.

To find out if the idea of adopting a “style uniform” is something I can get on board with, I decided to ask a bunch of women in my life if they have a uniform, and find out why it works so well for them. Here’s what all my ladies had to say.

1. “So, so simple. Dark-wash jeans, tank top, cardigan. Many reasons: for one, my office is often chilly, so I like to have a cardigan year-round. But I’m very sensitive to heat, and (tmi) but have a bit of a sweating issue, so I hate long-sleeves and tee shirts where I can maybe get pit stains. Tank tops keep me cool where I need to be, and cardigans keep me from getting chilly. And it is just an easy outfit. I’m allowed to wear jeans where I work, and I’m lucky because they’re so comfortable. I live in this outfit – I have probably 20 cardigans.” – Elena

2. “I have a uniform that I do variations of to keep it interesting. Basically, it is skinny or straight-leg pants (either jeans or trousers depending on the day), a t-shirt (really any color or material, as long as it is plain, but I gravitate towards white, gray, pink, and green), and a sweater over it. Any sweater, depending on the day, a cardigan, a pullover, a really chunky, warm one, a thin one. It is just a three-step outfit and I wear it most days. But I like to have fun shoes, that’s where I don’t have any rhyme or reason. Sometimes it is sneakers or trainers, sometimes heels, sometimes boots.” – Taylor

3. “100% tights and a dress is my default. If I have nothing to wear, I always go back to a pair of tights and a mini dress. I have a bunch of different styles of dresses, and I sometimes go for more opaque tights or more sheer or maybe patterned depending on what matches the dress best. I pretty much only feel confident in a dress, it is my power outfit so I’m pretty much known to be wearing one every day. Like, Zooey Deschanel chic.” – Molly

4. “My uniform changes with the seasons, I’m very much into fashion and all the different looks. Right now, it is pretty much a really girly blouse, a pair of skinny pants, ankle boots of any kind, and a longline blazer. It translates from day to night well and always looks classic and beautiful. It has been especially good this autumn, because the weather has been odd so I can keep the blazer on all day if I need to since it isn’t too bulky, like a thick sweater or a coat. But I can also take it off if it is warmer and still look pulled together underneath because I have a blouse as opposed to a t-shirt or cami or something.” – Bree

5. “I’m all about the classic ‘giant oversized sweater and leggings’ look right now. Call me a basic bitch, but I find ways to change it up with shoes. And usually layer something lighter underneath in case it gets too warm.” – Rebecca

6. “Lately I’ve been going almost every day in a shirt dress or t-shirt dress because they are so casual and comfy. And I’ve been wearing nicer, more structured shoes to kind of keep it more adult and professional, like loafers or a good pair of flats instead of making it too casual by wearing boots or sneakers or something.” – Fiona

7. “Every day, leggings. And some top that covers the butt. Oh, and a scarf.” – Emily

8. “I work in a very traditional office setting, but definitely am not the pencil skirt type. I prefer a flowy-ish style dress with a belt to make it look a little more put together, and tights. It is a simple formula. Dress + belt + tights + pumps. It makes me feel powerful 100% of the time. I work with mostly men and I don’t like to hide my femininity at the office. I’m all about the dress and heels life.” – Chrissy

9. “This time of year, I have a layered uniform. Jeans, tank, blouse, sweater. I like when the collars of my blouse peek over the top and bottom of my sweater, and I like that I can add/remove a layer depending on the weather, because I live in a place where it is 20 degrees in the morning and then like 65 by noon.” – Arianne

10. “I pretty much live in jeans and a leather moto jacket. Any wash of jeans, any top (blouse, t-shirt, sweater, etc.) and the leather jacket over it.” – Jazmine

11. “I’m most uncomfortable with my midsection so I’m really into skinny pants with an oversized, boxy top and some sort of little coat or jacket on top. That’s my every day. And always a really fun necklace, I’m the queen of statement jewelry.” – Jess

12. “My uniform is just gray. I love it so much. I have so much clothing but it is like 99% gray. Which is fine because it all matches and always looks good.” – Alyssa

13. “When joggers became a thing I was like ‘yasssss’ because I work in a business-casual setting but get sick of jeans and don’t love other pants either, joggers basically feel like sweatpants but look really cool and stylish paired with a fun top and heels. That’s my every day, I have so many different types of comfy joggers and track pants that actually work in my office.” – Madison

14. “Every day — well, every weekday at least — I default to black tights, an A-line skirt, a slouchy sweater, and boots. It is my most comfortable outfit style, I have so many different combinations, and I always feel like myself in it. I have a weekend uniform too — jeans and a tee, or like, flannel PJs.” – Lisa

15. “It is officially Fall so my uniform is: black leggings (thicker ones or fleece-lined ones, because it is cold in New England), a long sweater, a really big fluffy scarf, a pair of boots, and a pea coat. Bless the pea coat.” – Kayla

16. “I love a good vest this time of year. Jeans, flannel, and a vest. Sometimes a scarf. It is the perfect amount of warmth for right now, because obviously soon I’ll need a big heavy coat. The J. Crew vests are so nice, I think I have like three colors and I rotate them throughout the week with different flannel shirts. It is definitely my ‘look’.” – Annie

17. “I probably have a thousand striped shirts, black and white. I wear one most days with whatever bottoms. I love striped tops more than anything, they are classic and always look good. If I don’t know what to wear, I always wear black and white striped and leggings or jeans.” – Bianca

Mary writes every day for TFD, and tweets every day for her own personal fulfillment. Talk to her about money and life at mary@thefinancialdiet.com!

Image via Unsplash

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  • Jack

    Nice, this is awesome!
    For work I have a lot of dresses that are lined and sleeveless that I wear long or short sleeve tshirts underneath, and 99% of the time black tights with it, although I have coloured as well. Dresses are way easier than skirts because they are comfy and I don’t have to coordinate as much.
    My downtime is always athleisure type stuff….either I’ll do a cabin-y hiking type look with Patagonia, Roots, etc or I’ll just look like a mannequin at Lululemon 😛 Leggings and sweatshirts all the way!

  • Phoebe Prentice Terry

    I have a weird love of sleeveless turtlenecks so I wear them all the time. Then I have about three high end scarves that I wear with everything. My uniform is either my long black sleeveless turtleneck dress with big earrings and a belt or my gingham pedal pushers with a black or white sleeveless turtleneck and a colourful scarf. I love the idea of a uniform of “If I were a cartoon character I would wear this one outfit everyday” it really helps you think about what you like and feel most like yourself in.

    • Lauren

      I ask myself that same question! I always love that feeling of finding my latest “cartoon character” outfit. It makes me feel most myself. 🙂

  • nicolacash

    #1 I have the same uniform as Elena lol

  • jdub

    My work “uniform” is so simple it’s almost laughable: pencil skirt + button down (or t-shirt/tank) + a cardigan + boots. Ankle or riding doesn’t matter, but 90% of the time this is what I’m wearing. Sometimes I’ll switch to a dress + tights, but it’s almost always with the boots. I have a pair of ankle boots that have been my favourite pair of shoes for like 3 years now, and I’m currently on the hunt for a replacement pair so I don’t have to re-think my work uniform.

    Casual days I go full Pacific Northwest and just go jeans+sneakers+plaid shirt. I have like 4 different plaid shirts I can wear in different styles. I’m always on the hunt for more. A girl from Vancouver can never have enough or too many plaid shirts.

    • Jack

      Vancity represent!!

  • Andrea

    I tend to stick with a color palette, or lack thereof, because pretty much all my clothes are black, gray, or white, save for blue denim and my camel colored coat. Getting dressed is easy because mostly everything I have matches, I just have to think about proportions and patterns going together well!

  • As someone who works in a manufacturing plant, I wear jeans, a work polo everyday, and steel toe boots everyday. I switch up jackets and scarves even though I can’t wear them once I am at work.

  • Violaine

    A black suit (trousers and blazer) with a shirt – blue, grey or sometimes more colourful. High black heels.

  • Judith

    Jeans with either a (sometimes geeky) t-shirt or a fitted shirt and a slim fit sweater when it’s cold. Mostly in black, white or navy, so almost everything fits with everything else. It passes as business casual or just casual, depending on the shirt and I can handle putting it together even on my worst mornings. I’ll put on a suit jacket when I have a presentation to hold.
    And sneakers. Forget the heels. I don’t think I’d last long at an office with a dress code. In fact, I’m quite sure 🙂

  • Katinka

    For my personal life, it’s pretty much N°1. For work (v conservative), it’s an black/blue pantsuit and some flowy blouse (usually white). I have long given up on finding a button down that fits properly :/
    One thing that I’ve learned over the years is to always (!!!) buy the corresponding pants/blazer set (or 2 pants/1blazer). The colour and material of another model ist never quite the same and the mismatched pieces tend to cheapen the whole look

  • Alexis Graham

    For work, it’s usually black skinny jeans, sweater, and black booties. I have over 10 diff pair of black jeans and too many black booties to count.

  • J

    Could someone write an article on how to create a make-up “uniform”? I’m not into makeup, but so many jobs have an unspoken expectation that women wear makeup to the office. I want someone to tell me what to wear to work, and then I want to rebuy those makeup products until I retire. #livinmydreams

    • Ella

      I love this! The makeup round up a few months ago but I would love to hear from people their makeup uniform!